[b-hebrew] Genesis 3:15 "bruise"

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Wed Dec 22 20:14:50 EST 2004

On 23/12/2004 00:37, Karl Randolph wrote:

>I noticed that http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?book=Dictionary&va=paraphrase has the entry:
>Main Entry: 1para·phrase
>Pronunciation: 'par-&-"frAz
>Function: noun
>Etymology: Middle French, from Latin paraphrasis, from Greek, from paraphrazein to paraphrase, from para- + phrazein to point out
>1 : a restatement of a text, passage, or work giving the meaning in another form
>2 : the use or process of paraphrasing in studying or teaching composition
>Definition #2 we can ignore.
>I looked up a few dictionaries on line, and they all gave the same definition. None of them restricted paraphrase to within a language. Because sometimes a direct translation comes up gibberish, I noticed that when I worked as a translator, I always had to restate something in a form other than a direct translation to give an understandable meaning. I was one of those translators who does not like deviating from the original text, but many times I had to in order to make the message contained in the original understandable to those speaking the target language. That has always been my understanding of "paraphrase".
Fair enough. But none of them has the sense "inaccurate translation" or 
"non-literal rendering from one language to another" which Jim seems to use.

I'm not quite sure what you mean by a "direct translation", but if you 
mean what Jim earlier called a translation rather than a paraphrase, I 
would suggest that it almost always comes up gibberish. A proper 
translation involves, as you say, rendering of the meaning of the text 
in a form which gives an understandable meaning in the target language, 
and in general this requires using a different form in the target language.

But if you call that "paraphrase" you are distorting the meaning of the 
word, although not as seriously as Jim was originally. In fact, what you 
are saying is that translation is a subset of paraphrase, and strictly 
according to your definition #1 that is true because any change of 
language is a change of form. Nevertheless, the word "paraphrase" is not 
normally used when a change of language is involved, and it certainly 
does not imply non-literalism, still less inaccuracy.

Peter Kirk
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)

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